Monday, May 30, 2011

River House Cook Out

~ Memorial Day Weekend 2011~

There was never a dull meal or a dull moment this weekend.  Friends, Family, & Good Eats...

The men of the house whipped up this dinner for us.   And what a treat it was.  
Here was my contribution to the meal.  A zuchinni and yellow squash salad.  You take the squash and slice it long ways with a vegetable peeler so that it makes thin flat squash.    Add 2 T EVOO and 2 T lemon juice along with salt and pepper.  Add shredded parmesan cheese on the top and toss.

Notice the great view in the distance from the backyard.  The view looks over the top side of the Lake and faces a breath taking sunset view.

Here we have Jazzed up boxed rice.   Added in sauted onions with demi glaze and diced bell peppers.  Then added about half of the flavor packet, which saves on sodium.

Barbequed Tri-Trip.      Delish

These were twice baked potatoes that at some point were made and then  frozen for another time.  We defrosted in the microwave and then baked slowly in the oven.
Alaskan King Salmon, directly caught by dad and brother in Alaska.    This rub was to die for on the salmon.  He said it was olive oil and a mesquite rub purchased at costco.
Alaskan Halibut.  I heard them talking about an italian dressing and mayo marinade, I think that was the basis of the marinade and then they jazzed it up a little more by taste..
These foil platters worked great for barbequeing the fish.  You could also do it with just the foil, which is what we usually do at home.

Hope you had a good weekend.

Eat Well & Play Well~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feeling a Little Soupy

Sorry for taking so long between posts; not to my surprise I am finding it hard to fit it all in.  We were on the run all weekend again, we had a swim banquet, coaches barbeque and then a wedding in LA on Sunday.   All turned out to be great events and of course the weekend went by too fast...  We are headed out of town for Memorial Day Weekend, but maybe I can sneak in some internet time and show you some River House Eats...  

Back to the Soup

Sweet Red Pepper and Beet Soup

Chopped up some shallots
Add to hot olive oil

Cut and clean 3 red bell peppers.

And chop.   What have you chopped today?
Beets.   Cut off the leafy stems and peel with a vegetable peeler.
That's the peels in the strainer, not sure why I shot it like that.
Chop up the beets
Add your colorful veggies to your transparent shallots.

Add water and broth.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Fresh Lemon Juice.

Beets are tender.
Immersion blender fun again.  Add lemon juice.

Now that is some bright soup.   Will make your day bright too.

A little peak at the goods ready to be frozen and refridgerated.

Sweet Red Pepper and Beet Soup

1 T.   EVOO
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup water
3 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 T fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium.  Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes.  Add bell peppers and beets, and stir to coat.  Add the water and broth, and bring to a boil.  Cover partially, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until beets are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 1 hour.

Let cook slightly.  Stir in lemon jice; add 1 t. salt, and season with pepper.  Puree soup using your immersion blender,  (or food processor if you don't have one).  Transfer to a large bowl, and refrigerate until chilled, up to overnight.

Divide soup among bowl.  Sprinkle evenly with goat cheese, season with pepper and more salt, if desired, and serve with lemon wedges

Chilled Tomato-Dill Soup

This soup takes a little leg work, but that also makes you enjoy it more too. 
Cut in half and place open side up in roasting pan.

13 sprigs of dill. rinse and tie up

1 navel orange, take off a big chunk for peel
and then squeeze for the juice.

Add chopped onions to hot olive oil.

Smells good.
Letting tomatoes cool takes patience but is necessary for a good peel.

This is where more patience is needed.  Peel the tomatoes and add contents to bowl or pot.

Dill tie goes into pot with tomatoes.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Immersion blender one more time.

Balsmic Vinegar splash.

Serve cold with plain yogurt and dill.     This was tasty.  

Chilled Tomato-Dill Soup

12 ripe tomatos, halved lengthwise
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
15 springs dill
1 navel orange
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
Spicy Croutons*   (made with another recipe, buy, or skip all together)

Preheat oven to 450F.  Arrange tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and sprinke with 1/2 t. salt.  Roast until softened, about 30 minutes.  Let cool (important) and peel off skin.    (My note-Now this part is a little bit labor intensive, but healthy results are worth it) 

Tie 13 dill sprigs into a bundle with kitchen twine.  With a veg peeler, remove a 2 inch strip of orange zest.  Squeeze the juice from the whole orange.

Heat oil in a medium pot over low.  Cook garlic and onion, stirring occassionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add tomatoes, 1 1/4 t. salt, and the water; season with pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium lowl simmer 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Discard dill and orange zest.

Puree soup.  Stir in vinegard, then let cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate atleast 2 hours, or up to overnight.

Divide soup amount eight bowls; garnish each with 1 T yogurt.  Snip remaining dill over soup; serve with croutons.   


Enjoy and Remember if you Eat Well You Play Well~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Making A List

After a weekend of many social engagements and a good chunk of time spent on housework, I managed to carve in some time at the very end for recipe planning, list making, grocery run, and cooking session.    I could have used a couple more hours tacked onto my weekend, as usual, so I did some additional cooking on Monday evening after work.

Shopping List:
12 ripe tomatoes (@ 5lbs)  plus more for week
Fresh Dill
3 red bell peppers
2 red beets
sprouts (which I opted out of while at the store)
avocado (no reason, just because they're yum)
bunch of spinach x2
5 cups chicken broth
whole wheat pitas
turkey from deli
french bread
chocolate (only the good kind)

And if you must know, I did stick to this list precisely, except for I ventured off into the ice cream aisle and got a mini tub of Raspberry/vanilla Frozen Yogurt and a Chocolate one... I was feeling craaa-aazy~

Reasons for items on this list:   Pita Sandwiches with spinach-chickpea spread, sweet red pepper and beet soup, chilled tomato-dill soup, salmon salad and curried egg on multi grain bread (perfect for a can of salmon that hadn't really had a purpose until now).

All of these recipes were courtesy of "Power Foods-150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients"  From the editors of whole living magazine, Foreword by Martha Stewart.

I was most impressed with the chilled tomato-dill soup.  I have made gazpacho before and it had come out bland, this recipe tastes great and wow is it healthy.   Soup is listed as 100 calories per serving.... and the only thing it is missing is ingredients that are unrecognizably long and horrible.

Pita Sandwiches with Spinach-Chickpea Spread

Now this caught my eye for a couple of reasons, first was I had Garbanzo Beans in my pantry as well as Tahini, both which needed an excuse to hit the plate.   Both purchased for homemade hummus, but I never actually made it.

 I will say that this little gizmo is probably one of the best items that I got sucked into at a pampered chef party.  Anything that comes out of a can, hits this gizmo.  

 Standard rinse for canned beans is 3 times under my watch.

 And next we have the salad spinner, which gets tons of use in this kitchen.   Fresh Spinach needs a complete bath or three.  No, I did not buy the pre-washed, pre-cut or pre-bagged.   This was left alone as a thriving whole food and you or I can take it from there.  You'll notice I was pulling off the stems as I was bathing it.

 Garlic. Enough Said.

 Salt and Red Pepper Flakes.  I had a few things going on while cooking this, so I pre-measured this so that it was ready and easily poured when I needed it.

Lemon, back to the a few things going on (house guests) while cooking this... I opted out of the fresh lemon, but this bottle is cute in it's own right.

Ok, so a few things happened here without documentation.   Olive oil and garlic 1 minute.   Add Chickpeas and lemon juice for about 1 more minute.    Then add the Spinach, salt and red pepper flakes.   It says to cover and raise heat to medium-high until spinach has wilted or about 4 minutes and to stir once.   Awful tempting to lift up that lid more often then once.  Especially when you need photos.

Not sure what this is all about; may have been a mad dash to get the photo with the lid off/on real fast, may have been something splattered on the lens, may have been distraction, may have been all of the above.  All in all, I think it could be a frameable piece.      (That, and I am low on pics, so I'll keep it in)

Once it is cooked, transfer to bowl, blend.   Add Tahini   (honestly the tahini is optional... I actually forgot about it until after we ate that night and then I added it in afterwards, no major change. 

Quick Pic of the Pita... we were hungry so it is a no fuss shot.    We also had soup that night.

Pita Sandwiches with spinach-chickpea spread    Serves 4

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
10 ounces fresh spinach, trimmed, washed well, and drained
Coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 whole wheat pitas, halved
1 tomato thinly sliced

Heat oild in a large saucepan over medium. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minutes.  Add chickpeas and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Cook, stirring, 1 minutes.   Add spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the red pepper flakes.  Cover; raise heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring once, until spinach has wilted, about 4 minutes.  Uncover; raise heat to high.  Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Let cool.

Pulse chickpea mixture with tahini, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until slightly chunky. 

To serve, fill each pita half with 1/4 cup spread, and layer with tomato slices.

Now this will make you eat well and play well~

Chilled Tomato-dill soup and sweet red pepper and beet soup... coming soon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quiche & Quizzas

In order to expidite the same day cooking and serving of two quiches, I prepped some of the ingredients the day before.

Grilled the chopped bacon.

Sliced the ham.

Weighed the ham to make sure I had a clue how much I should put in there.

Wow, don't you just want to pinch your fingers in to that picture and taste that bacon.

The bacon deserves two shots.
Bacon "bits" get degreased on a papertowl.

Time to grill the onions in the same pan/bacon grease.

Cut and wash the leeks.   (Take extra care in the washing as they are a little bit like a reality show and can harbor some dirt)

Cut into thin half moons or C's.
The two piles are showing the store bought one and the farmer's market one.   Left is FM if I remember correctly.

At the end of the onion grill, the bacon goes back in for a final bath.

Add some butter to your pan.

And time to grill up the leeks.

After a few minutes they will look like this.
And I wrapped up my fixings, after they cooled and stored them for the next morning.

The next morning...

My attempt at a pie crust. Safeway brand of refrigerated ready crust is ideal here.

Now, just to clarify I am making two different quiches: One with Ham and Leeks and One with Bacon and Onions.
One recipe called for Eggs, Sour Cream, salt, pepper

Whisk with milk, nutmeg,

Add in the leeks and cheese at the end


For the second quiche we used buttermilk and milk and eggs.
Salt and pepper


All lined up and ready to go, waiting for our crust to brown.

This one too.
Ok, we have a browned crust, now time for the fillings.
The ham and leek quiche started with a thin layer of ham

The bacon and onion quiche had a layer of bacon and onion on the bottom.  Who doesn't like bacon and onion?


Place in the oven and cross your fingers, oh I mean set your timer. 
Resist the temptation to open the oven to look at them closely.

Here is a shot at my first attempt at homemade quiche.   I think I would have filled them more next time, but that's ok because it left leftover "batter" for the next day's adventure....


The next evening, I had a free 30 minutes and I decided to do something fun with the left overs.

Quizzas!  I had just enough crust to line these mini cake pans.   (Who has these Pans just laying around in their house, you ask.  Well the answer is that I I didn't even know I did, until my husband pulled them out and said use these.   He had purchased them a year or so back when he made some batches of homemade meat pies.   He lived in Australia for a little less than a year and gained a hankering for meat pies and decided to take matters into his own hands when he was unable to locate any a year or so ago.   Maybe a recipe to come soon, if he decides to make them again and I can photograph.)

So I spread out all of the leftover fixings.


And poured in the remaining quiche mixture, I had juuust enough.

I am unable to locate the quizza final photo right now, but picture these browned up and beatiful and ready for your taste buds.   They popped out of the pan in a perfect sized easy to run with quizza fashion.   I took them to work and they seriously dissappeared quicker than I could tell people they were here.

Recipes were taken and altered from Woman's Day Magazine and The America's Test Kitchen Family Kitchen.  I was just told a few minutes ago by the quizza pan buyer (as I was double checking the title) that he saw an America's Test Kitchen Healthy Eating Cookbook. 
Very exciting, I may have to take a peak at it the next time I find myself in a bookstore.